Monday, July 18, 2011

The Sound Of Settling

I consider this 100% accurate. 

STEP 1: Graduate College. 
STEP 2: oh shit…was there a class on this?

The older I get, the faster time moves. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (in the loosest form imaginable) would deem that an object in motion (moving through time as age can certainly count as motion) moves faster than one at rest. Thus, as we age we imagine time to fly by rather than crawl at the once dismal speed it took during say, the 7th grade, when everyone made fun of you for wheeling your backpack around and it seemed to literally last an eternity. 
So now, into my 20’s I see my life speeding up…but my age seems to move faster than my ambition, or at least faster than my ability to realize my ambitions. As a child I imagined my twenties full of briefcases, taxes, families, mortgage payments, vacations, adult soirees, dinner parties, and uh….children. However, that is nowhere near where I am headed (and not an exciting vision I might add). I rent an apartment, I am barely responsible enough to keep my cat fed (which is a very easy animal to keep alive), I work in a bar, I keep terrible hours (writing this at 2 am as we speak), I never use things like ovens and stoves to eat, and the idea of marriage and children seems about as far fetched as the entire plot of LOST.
Worse is that I also have no urge to become more “adult-like”. Apparently I missed the memo, forgot to watch the movie or joined Twitter too late to read the tweet that said, “You’re out of college, grow up!” I see pictures of babies on Facebook spawned from friends in high school and it freaks me out. I see “x just got married” every few newsfeed updates and I wonder where everyone finds the time to plan a wedding in between all the Netflix, working, drinking, and hanging out. I need to buy new health insurance (since I will be 26 next week), and the thought of mulling over deductibles, co-pays, and up front costs seems more annoying than beneficial. I hate running errands, my tags on my car are out of date and setting up a 401K is not in my near future. You get the point, and I know what you are thinking…that I am a hot mess. But the truth is, I had a real job once, sat in an office and did important “adult things” and hated it…that’s why I am now a happily unpaid writer. But part of me also wonders if I am simply settling…settling on just being irresponsible. This in turn got me to thinking about how complacent we become in our lives. We stick to the road most traveled; we take the safe route and settle into the life that doesn’t fight back. But in doing so we might wake up one day and realize we missed out on something great, some unknown fantastic opportunity that seemed like a punch to the gut but was actually a blessing in disguise.


We settle in careers, apartments, cars, and sadly often times in relationships. We stay with the person that is comfortable…like a fluffy, white, sock. They are nice, they keep us warm, they’re clean (hopefully) and they’ll be there…hell if we lose them in the dryer there will be a pack of twenty more at Costco so who cares? But what about wanting a different sock…not to say it’s better… but maybe it has polka dots, or is reversible (two socks in one) or shoots lasers. The point is that in relationships people (girls, maybe some guys) usually have a checklist, but as you get older qualities tend to fall off the more you see what’s out there…or as adults say – what is realistic. If you started out with “tall, dark, handsome, green eyes, funny, IQ of 170, can make hollandaise, knows a Bordeaux from a Burgundy, six pack, plays the guitar, speaks 3 languages, can laugh at Tosh.O and then quote the latest op-ed from the NYtimes” then you might find yourself ten years and three failed engagements later just looking for “breathing, not bald and under 40”. Which means the person you marry might be someone you simply “settled for”. In some people’s minds this might be considered practical, but in my mind it’s the sound of settling. The sound that tells you that you once had a goal, an ambition or a dream and you decided it no longer existed and settled for what was left (i.e. Joe from the supermarket who can’t even spell hollandaise). It’s the sound of driving to work and wishing you could drive somewhere else… the job you really wanted. It’s the sound of waking up next to someone you are not sure you even like. It’s the sound of the laundry machine at 2 pm on a Sunday when you wish you heard the crack of a beer and the sizzle of steaks on a grill. Often times it is the sound of responsibilities sneaking up behind you and pulling you into a life you don’t want. So what I say to that is… DON’T. It may not be the best advice to say: “be more irresponsible”… I’ll probably start a 401K at some point… but I think it is good advice to say don’t settle for anything other than the life you want. This paradox of advice however leads me back to my original question, which was… can we also find ourselves settling on just being irresponsible? I think it is important to make a distinction in our lives between moments we love and moments we think are just two inches worth of fine.


Katy Perry and Fourth of July made fireworks famous and I am about to add my own name to that list. My advice on not settling… see fireworks. Each of us has had a moment where we felt a spark. You kiss someone and it feels greater than any kiss in the world…fireworks. You do a task at work you actually enjoyed and in turn were also quite good at it…fireworks. You find a house or a car or a city and fall in love with it…fireworks. You snowboard for the first time and it’s awesome…Fireworks. Find the fireworks, the spark that makes you happy, and you’ll find you never settled for anything. The moment happened to me the first time I sat down and wrote a project (granted it was an Avril Lavigne Musical – don’t knock it till you belt out “Girlfriend” as your opening number and your life is changed forever) but still, there were sparks and I realized that writing is what truly makes me happy. So in summation… we sometimes get pulled in many different directions because we have no plans, no other road paved out and we are too lazy to make one ourselves. We blow along like leaves in the wind and then wonder how we ended up in a gutter (so many metaphors!). But… if we find the task, the person or the place that makes us tick, makes us interested, makes us ask more questions and gets us curious about life… then we find that instead of settling… we might just be living.


  1. 26 and so wise. So well said that I have already shared your thoughts with my FB 'family'. Thanks.

  2. I hear you, cuz. I'm finally doing all those things and happily still sans the adulthood baggage. Hey, if it was easy everyone would be doing it. Off to my paid writing gig, for once. well, this week anyway.

    Oh and that list? I have that covered except for the under 40 part. Time you know.